So Victorian Premier Steve Bracks has split with the Howard Government over its proposed changes to the law of sedition, saying they are too broad and threaten free speech, while his Queensland counterpart Peter Beattie has told the ABC “I’m just a little concerned that they will impose restrictions on free speech which aren’t intended…

“The thrust of what we agreed to at COAG is in the law – the sedition provisions, as far as I’m concerned, are ancillary and unnecessary,” Beattie says. “The spirit of COAG and the agreement we reached can be done without the sedition provisions.”

Last week Malcolm Turnbull and Petro Georgiou expressed concerns that free speech could be threatened by the measures contained in their own Government’s proposed counter-terrorism package.

And the Prime Minister admitted when talking to David Speers on Sky News Australia that “we’ve had sedition laws in this country for a hundred years or thereabouts and the thrust of the new sedition laws is essentially no different from what’s already there.”

So perhaps Bracks and Beattie and the rest of their mob – along with Turnbull and Georgiou – might like to start asking aloud “if these laws are the same as before then why do we need them?”